Tell The Story

My friend Shanna Germain (whom I’ve never met face to face, but who posts hilariously) teaches writing. She recently posted this:

“Everyone can learn to be a better writer. There are born writers, yes, but they are few and far between and even they can get better. The rest of us get better through practice and failure and support and inspiration and laughter and sweat and guidance.”

Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better description of the process of smacking nouns against verbs to see what happens next.

Shanna decided on a whim to write a poem a day every day in April. I think she hated the process. It ended up being a royal bitch. But she did it.

I’m not a poetry fan. But I read all of hers because I got the project. It was: See what happens next!

I spent a lifetime in newspaper newsrooms, where, each day, you’d go to an event, take notes, take interviews, find the hook, figure out how to make that event unique (or at least non-dull). Then you’d Tell The Story.

I was at the World Mystery Convention in London, a thousand years ago, on a panel. Someone asked about writer’s block. I laughed and said, “In journalism, we don’t call it writer’s block. We call it ‘unemployment.’”

Tell The Story.

Is it tough? Yes. Does it require talent? Yes. Can you get better at it? Oh, hell yes!

Practice and failure and support and inspiration and laughter and sweat and guidance.

Shanna? Those who teach, do.

Want to take her class in Portland? Check this out.

About danahaynes

Dana Haynes is the author of ICE COLD KILL (2013), BREAKING POINT (2011) and CRASHERS (2010) from Minotaur and St. Martin's Press.

Posted on May 14, 2010, in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Oh, wow, Dana. Thank you, thank you. I am in awe of your kind words and your ability to tell a story — you even make me sound pretty amazing! Proof that you really can write great fiction. 🙂


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